Last updated on May 8, 2023
Every industry has flagship products. Hearts and Arrows diamonds are one of the icons in the diamond industry. Cut to ideal proportions, they are the masterpieces people associate with the most desirable diamonds.
What Are Hearts and Arrows Diamonds?
Hearts and Arrows diamonds (H&A) are the precision-cut variations of traditional round brilliant cut diamonds. They are cut to ideal diamond proportions with excellent symmetry, polish and a specific facet pattern that displays eight symmetrical arrows in the face-up position of the stone and eight symmetrical hearts in the face-down position.
It is important to mention that ideal/excellent cut diamonds do not display true hearts and arrows because this pattern is achieved by polishing each facet to exact angles and proportions.
The hearts and arrows pattern can be viewed using an H&A scope, a tool that filters the light entering the sides of a diamond. When viewed from the top (crown) using an H&A scope, an ideal diamond should reveal eight symmetrical arrows. When the diamond is viewed from the bottom (pavilion) using the same tool, it displays eight symmetrical hearts.
Due to the superior level of cutting precision, Hearts and Arrows diamonds are called “super ideal” diamonds. However, this term is also used to define a diamond with excellent light performance, material quality and symmetry, meaning “super ideal” diamonds are not necessarily H&A diamonds.
True Hearts and Arrows diamonds are rare and limited in production, meaning only selected jewellery companies can offer such stones.
History of Hearts and Arrows Diamonds
The history of H&A diamonds dates back to mid-1980s Japan, where diamonds were cut to “ideal proportions”, very close to the modern round brilliant cut created by a Belgian mathematician and diamond enthusiast Marcel Tolkowsky in 1919.
The second step in H&A diamonds was cutting them with superior optical and physical symmetry so that the stones would get “Excellent” cut grades in Japanese laboratories. The third and final step was cutting diamonds according to a very specific faceting scheme that could produce the famous “Cupid effect”. This scheme involves certain lengths and ratios, as well as smaller table sizes that are vital in producing a distinctive H&A pattern.
As a revolution in the diamond-cutting industry, Hearts and Arrows diamonds slowly moved into the US market during the early 1990s.
Less than 1% of all diamonds around the globe are cut to hearts and arrows with optical symmetry precision. This is because it takes three times longer (!) to cut diamonds of this superior quality and much more waste of diamond rough material. Moreover, H&A cutting requires using special tools, high-quality cutting wheels and highly professional cutters. No surprise Hearts and Arrows diamonds are more expensive than round brilliant cut diamonds.
What Makes Hearts and Arrows Diamonds Special
Apart from the symbolic meaning of love and romance that gives a district character, Hearts and Arrows diamonds are also special in other aspects.
First of all, an H&A diamond displays better contrast patterning that captures the viewer’s attention due to the extreme precision in facet alignment. Another factor is the superior brilliance and fire that are directly affected by a diamond’s cut quality. Since H&A diamonds have larger facets that form a series of mirrors, they reflect more light, have better scintillation and look brighter than GIA excellent cut diamonds.
Hearts and Arrows diamonds look larger than non-ideal cut round brilliant diamonds because they have more brilliance and brightness. In other words, the increased light return makes them look more vivid and larger as a result.
It is worth mentioning that H&A diamonds are usually not available in lower colours and clarities because the labour cost and rough diamond material waste incurred in manufacturing these stones make them unprofitable. That is the reason cutters choose to work with more expensive rough-to-cut hearts and arrows.
Featured image: DiamondGalaxy / Canva